Dear recent Orlando transplant:

Ok, so you just moved to Orlando from New York / Philly / Chicago / San Francisco / et al. You feel lost, uprooted, misplaced -- you're starting to think Orlando might suck. Eager to find some nightlife in this town, you go to Lattitudes on Church Street, Slingapour's on Wall Street and that mega-club on Orange Avenue owned by one of those Backstreet Boys (Orlando's finest celebrities). Maybe you even think International Drive, Citywalk or Downtown Disney is where everyone hangs out in this town. Now you really think Orlando sucks.

Well, you're wrong. There is more to this city than theme park "nightlife" and crappy clubs with guys wearing shiny shirts, but you have to know where to look. Instead of complaining about how lame Orlando is compared to your city of origin, why not get out there and support your new scene -- it's a lot better than you think! After all, you moved here for a reason, right? (I'm guessing to escape the cold weather.) So you can do one of two things: either 1) move back to the city you think is sooooo much more awesome or 2) quit bitchin', check the events below and DON'T SLEEP on the shit that is happening!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Next Weekend: (Free!) Downtown Concert Series with Kenny Loggins

My mom was a huge Kenny Loggins fan, so I spent several years in the backseat of her car belting out Highway to the Danger Zone, Heart to Heart and Footloose with reckless abandon. Yes, there was a phase where this transitioned into that whole weird Return to Pooh Corner weirdness, but I’ve since powered through and Footloose remains at the top of my ‘Songs to Karaoke at Colonial Lanes on Friday Night’ rotation.

In my head, Kenny Loggins still looks like this:

In reality, Kenny Loggins now actually looks like this:

But, if you drink enough before heading to the WMMO Downtown Concert Series next Saturday, Kenny Loggins can be whatever Kenny you want him to be.

This edition of the concert series (which just brought Huey Lewis & the News to town) is moving locations – it’ll be on the corner of Orange and Amelia in front of the courthouse. The show starts at 9 p.m.. It’s free, but if you want to avoid the masses and have a reserved VIP seat, those are $46.

Friday, October 14, 2011

This Weekend: Stars at Firestone

My favorite Canadians are going to be in Orlando tomorrow night, headlining Firestone Live, or Club Firestone, or just Firestone – whatever they’re calling it now. Anyway, I’m stoked that I getting to see Stars twice in the past year: their live show is one of the best. If you like indie rock (think Broken Social Scene, which all of the members of Stars are also are a part of) and melodramatic, theatrical songs about ghosts, love and heartbreak, then you’ll be into this show. I promise. Tickets are $15 and still available. (Plus, no fees if you buy them at the Firestone box office!)

I got to talk with Amy Millan, Stars’ babe of a co-lead singer, about the new tour, plans for future music, and what’s on her playlist. Check it out!

You toured last year in support of Five Ghosts, and since then you've released The Bedroom Demos, the demos from 2007's In Our Bedroom After the War. What can expect to hear most of on this current tour? A good mix of old and new?

It’s interesting having five albums and four EPs -- there is SO MUCH TO CHOOSE FROM!! For our own sanity we need to mix it up and challenge ourselves for every new tour, which means the setlist is always a mixed bag. We always want to make sure we are playing some fan favorites because the fans are the ones buying the tickets and we wouldn't want to disappoint. Playing the favorites always means we get a sing along as well, which is the very best of anything.

You and Torquil (fanciest name ever) split most of the band's vocals, is the band's songwriting also a collaborative process?

All publishing is split between the five of us on every song – that’s how collaborative it is. No song would be the song without every member present.

Are there any current plans to record new music in the future?

YES! We are in the middle of recording and writing the next album, and we are actually playing some of the newest and freshest tunes on this tour. It’s terrifying and exciting! We have never played songs that have yet to be even finished before.

What's on your playlist right now?

PJ Harvey, Neon Indian, Beach House, Twin Sister and King Creosote.

Do you have a favorite place/ or is there anywhere you're looking forward to visiting while you're in Orlando?

Well, we just made it to the beautiful beaches of Florida and we are LOVING IT!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

5 Can’t Miss Fall Shows - Becky's Picks

What do I love about fall? Pumpkin everything (especially beeeeer), wearing layers (although that might not be well into November) and Halloween. And the best time of year in the Sunshine State brings a cornucopia of shows to our fair city. So grab an Octoberfest brew, grab a (light) jacket and head to one of these five. (And be sure to check out Amy’s picks too!)

Friendly Fires, The Social, October 8
Ask most people about Pala, the latest album from this British trio, and they’ll annoyingly say they like the first album better. I am curious if these people have ears. Sure, the first self-titled release was good, but boy am I obsessed with the intricate layers of their second endeavor. (“Blue Cassette?” Goosebumps. “Hurting?” Gut-wrenchingly awesome. “Helpless?” Ohmygod, yes.) Eh, maybe it’s because I’m getting over a breakup and my emo side is shining through. But if you’re as stoked as I am to see how they’ll perform the complex studio work live, check them out this Saturday.

Eat to the Beat Concert Series, Epcot, Dates Vary
Ok, so most of the bands performing during Epcot’s Food and Wine festival (Air Supply, Hanson) can only be enjoyed ironically. However, there are a few not-so-guilty pleasures in the mix (ok, maybe a little guilty) like Boyz II Men, kinda-sorta ELO and Billy Ocean, who I saw a few years ago and was totally dope. (He rocked long white dreads and a fresh blue suit, and opened with the song "Nights (Feel Like Getting Down"). Um, hells to the yeah.) Check the full cheesy band lineup and dates here, and if none of them strike your fancy, there’s always drinking around the world and Norway’s boat ride.

VHS or Beta, Will’s Pub, October 14
It’s been awhile since these guys have visited our town but they’re back to promote their new album, Diamonds and Death. Stream the whole thing over here, then catch them at Will’s along with Britt Daley and Yogurt Smoothness. Expect a dance party.

The Cool Kids, The Social, October 22
These dudes bring a hipster element to hip hop, while keeping it on the lighthearted tip, sans the bitches and bling (see also: De La Soul). Internet buzz helped spread the word of their first EP, Bake Sale, making the follow up, When Fish Ride Bicycles, their first official album release. But don’t dismiss it just because you can’t get a physical copy or because of the huge Mountain Dew logo on the cover (guys’ve gotta eat, right?). Instead, drop a few bucks to support their live show so they can keep doing their thing – making fun hip hop music the 90s would be proud of.

Who’s Bad, The Social, October 27
It’s no secret that I love me some Michael Jackson. And since I’ll never get to see him live, I’ll have to settle for the next best thing: an MJ tribute band! And really, what better way to get into the Halloween spirit than with a re-enactment of "Thriller?"

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

5 Can't Miss Fall Shows - Amy's Picks

Fall is here (even if it doesn't quite feel like it yet) and besides the insane amount of pumpkin bombs I'll be enjoying for the next couple months, I'll also be reaping the benefits of the onslaught of incredible touring acts making their way through town. Here's my Top 5 ... Becky will be posting hers later this week, plus check out the column on the right for even more listings.

Mates of State, The Social, October 7
It’s been a not-so-secret goal of mine to marry a musician babe and tour around the country with our daughters in tow like Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel of Mates of State do. They’re out in support of their seventh album, Mountaintops, which is more guitar-heavy than previous releases (which used to be just drums and keys), but it's still just as upbeat and melodic. Expect lots of pretty people and tambourines.

Stars, Firestone Live, October 15
Last year I drove to Atlanta to see this band of Canadians (half of them also play in Broken Social Scene), because I thought, "Oh they'll never come to Orlando." Well, here they are, less than a year later, touring in support of the same album (Five Ghosts). This means they’ll likely play the same set I saw last year which doesn’t really bother me one bit because they are one of the most hauntingly beautiful bands I’ve ever seen.

Butch Walker & the Black Widows, The Social, October 31
He was a one hit wonder in the 90s (Marvelous 3, anyone?) and now he's more banjo than bad-ass, but I still have a really strange crush on him. If you go to the show you’ll see why, or just think I have weird taste, but whatever. Butch is on tour with his folk backing band, The Black Widows, promoting the release of their brand new album, The Spade.

M83, The Beacham, November 2
Turns out I’m not going to be in town for this show, but I’m still so excited about it for your sake that it had to be included. Hurry Up We’re Dreaming is my favorite new album of the year, and I’ve never seen M83 live, so someone needs to go and tell me how it is. Okay now I’m sad.

Orlando Calling Festival, The Citrus Bowl, November 12
I realize this first-ever festival has the potential to be a giant, shitty mess -- annoying crowds, expensive beer (may I suggest a flask?) -- but this is The Killers’ first show on U.S. soil in more than two years, and there’s a bunch of other excitement-worthy acts on the bill (The Avett Brothers, The Roots, Gogol Bordello) that may make this worth it.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Rich Medina Returns to Orlando

Rich Medina's son is way cooler than you. (Photo by Karl Rex.)

You know who’s awesome? These Lazy Afternoon guys. In the last few months, they have busted their asses to drop some knowledge to this town. Have you heard of Questlove? Brought him. Pete Rock? Yep, him too. DJ Craze, Maseo, Kon and Cosmo Baker? Check, check, check, and check. These are guys after my own heart and we’re lucky they’re doing their thing in Orlando.

Up next, they’re bringing back Rich Medina, one of my all-time favorite DJs, on Sunday, September 4. Their party on Memorial Day weekend was the shizzzzz, with Mr. Medina rocking the dance floor with all types of music the whole evening. (That is, until Eye Spy resident DJ Perry decided to ruin everything. Seriously, what’s up with this guy? He is *still* dropping "Mr. Brightside" by The Killers like it came out yesterday.)

This time the dance floor antics promise not to be cut short, as the party will be held at SUbstance. A reason to get there early: Orlando’s finest -- LT Smash, Kittybat and DJ Y-not -- will be on deck to warm up the dance floor.

A reason for the ladies to get there early: We get in free before 11. Oh word!
A reason for the guys to get there early: Ladies will be there.

Cover: $10
Why you shouldn’t complain about the cover:
A) Ladies in free before 11, so no excuses.
B) You’re contributing to make Orlando’s scene better. Help these dudes continue to bring true talent without losing their asses. Shit ain’t free.

21 and up, 10 PM, Peep the FB invite for more details.

PS... There are rumors circulating that there might be a steady Rich Medina Orlando residency in the works. Stay tuned!

Will's Pub's Sweet 16th Anniversary Weekend

Holy crap – Will’s Pub is old enough to drive! They grow up so fast, don’t they? Watch yourself on the roads with these kids behind the wheel.

But seriously, it was a sad day when Will’s previous location was set to close its doors forever. Luckily the legacy has lived on thanks to the current spot (conveniently across from Wally’s in case you need a shot or two in between bands).

This weekend, come support Will Walker, a man who has always tried to better our fair city, at Will's Pub's Sweet 16th Anniversary Weekend. Here’s the lineup:

9/1 Ben Prestage
9/2 Thomas Wynn & the Believers w/ Six Time Losers, Jordan Wynn
9/3 Shak Nasti & Gargamel!
9/4 "Mommy's Little Monsters" Cover Show (Social D cover set with sets by Chopper Stepe w/ a full band, Weapons To Go, & Midtown Dave)

Happy birthday! Here’s to another 16 years. (God, we’ll be old by then.)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Happy Birthday, Michael Jackson!

Today would have been the King of Pop’s 53rd birthday. Sad face. Luckily we can still remember him and his music (and try to forget about those crazy years towards the end there). Every year around this time, DJ BMF gathers his friends for a proper commemoration, Phat ‘N Jazzy style. This year, the 3rd Annual Michael Jackson Tribute Party is this Friday, September 2, at The Social and features Gerry Williams and Swamburger to name a few. It’s always one of my favorite parties of the year, hands down. So dust off your fedoras and get ready to dance, shout and shake your body down to the ground.

Rest in peace, MJ. We <3 you!!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cee Lo Green: Free Show at Hard Rock Live

Yep, that’s right. Free. Cee Lo. Wednesday, September 7 at Hard Rock Live.

How? Those nice folks over at Samsung are sponsoring (yay!) and we’re reaping all the benefits. 750 tickets are available -- snag yours by visiting this link and entering your info and the promotion code SK4. The ticket will admit you plus one. Awesome town!!!

And before you judge Cee Lo on that “Forget You” radio song you’re so sick of hearing, just know his whole Lady Killer album is amazing. The man’s voice is like butter.

My fave song from the album: Wildflower.

And did you forget about Gnarls Barkley? Here’s the creepy-yet-accurate singing heart video.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Saturday, July 30: Ricky Powell in Orlando!

Ok, this blog has been too effin quiet lately. I’m not going to make excuses or apologize, I’m just going to write, which is what I should have been doing for the past few months. Anyway, mark your calendars for Ricky Powell’s World Famous Slideshow. That’s right -- the semi-official 4th Beastie Boy will be in our midst on Saturday, July 30 to show us his favorite career-span photos. And for someone who sweet-talked his way on tour with the Beasties and RUN DMC just as they were coming up on the scene (!!!), and has photographed some of the biggest names in the biz, you need to be there. The spot is Mother Falcon, who will also put some of those iconic photos on t-shirts for your wearing pleasure. The DJs on hand know what’s up and it’s an event not to be missed. So be there or be a sucker.

Homeboy throw in the towel, your girl got dicked by Ricky Powell. In Orlando. Fucking A right!!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Jimmy Eat World, Tomorrow at House of Blues!

When I told Becky I wanted to preview the upcoming Jimmy Eat World concert at House of Blues, she looked at me strangely, thought about it for a second, and then asked if they were that one band that had that “Middle” song on the radio years ago.

Short answer: Yes, that’s them.

Long answer: Yes, that’s them, but despite that one pop song that hit radio almost ten years ago (yep, it was 2002, you really are getting old) the band’s 18-year career is full of MUCH better stuff than that.

Longer answer: Jimmy Eat World’s power-pop/emo music has somewhat achieved mainstream success, but they’ve come a long way from what you heard on the radio years ago. If you’re turned off by the word emo, you’ll be happy to know the band’s newer stuff, including their latest album Invented, is not as bad as it used to be. Yes, the music is moody and cinematic, but it also brings in non-emo traits like smart lyrics, big guitars and a louder, punk-inspired sound. If the last song you heard (or played on Rock Band) was “The Middle,” give them another shot.

Solution: Jimmy Eat World (and myself) will be at House of Blues tomorrow night, February 4, with David Bazan. Tickets are $23.25 and still available!